Lalu, Sonia to visit Rae Bareli coach factory next week

January 22nd, 2009 - 9:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiNew Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) With hurdles in setting up a rail coach factory in Rae Bareli finally removed, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will visit the Uttar Pradesh town next Tuesday to launch the Rs.20 billion ($408 million) project in the party chief’s constituency.”As the obstacles for the proposed rail coach factory have been cleared, Sonia Gandhi along with Rahul Gandhi and the railway minister will visit the place to restart the work on January 27,” a highly placed Railway Ministry source told IANS.

“Minister of State for Railway R. Velu will also accompany them,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The work on the rail coach factory, to come up on about 1,000 acres, was stalled October last year when Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati refused to transfer 189.253 acres of land under the state government ownership, citing opposition by local people.

Her announcement came just before Sonia Gandhi was to visit the site for the ground-breaking ceremony.

The decision sparked political controversy as Mayawati also tried to stop Sonia Gandhi, also the chairperson of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), from addressing a rally.

The Mayawati government’s decision was challenged in the Allahabad High Court but later the state relented and decided to grant the land to the railways on lease.

The lease deed for the 189.25 acres of land in Lalganj sub-district was executed Jan 17 and the Indian Railways Wednesday filed its copy along with a supplementary affidavit in the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court.

“With this, the work on the project can start. It is likely to be completed in two years,” said the source, adding that building more rail coach factories is on top of the ministry’s agenda this year.

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